With plantar fasciitis, the tissue on the bottom of your foot gets inflamed and makes the bottom of your heel or the bottom of your foot hurt. It happens a lot with runners and people who have flat feet, high arches, are overweight, or who are on their feet a lot.
It can take 6-12 months for your foot to get back to normal.
Plantar fasciitis pain can make simple walking a chore. If you have experienced heel pain associated with the plantar fascia, you understand how limiting the pain can be. To get out of pain fast, follow these five key steps.
Stretching the calf muscles is an important part of reducing plantar fascia tension. The calf muscles, including the gastric and soleus, attach to the back of the heel. Tension from these muscles pulls back on the heel, causing tension on the plantar fascia.
A great way to stretch the calf the first thing in the morning, before you take your first steps, is to hook a towel on the ball of your foot and while keeping the knee straight pull back on the towel. Hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and repeat a few times.
Another way to stretch the calf is to put the ball of your foot at the edge of a stair step and allow your heel to sink down. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds with your knee straight and 30 seconds with your knee slightly bent.
For some, the use of supportive shoes alone is not sufficient to provide the necessary support. Over the counter inserts and custom, orthotics can be greatly helpful in providing support. However, custom orthotics can be rather expensive. Thus, trying a firm/rigid (not gels or cushion) insert can be a good first option. It is important to note that an insert is not a substitute for supportive shoes and should be worn together.
Although a bit of a sticky subject, a majority of shoes that are worn do not provide the support needed to reduce plantar fascia stress. Most people experiencing plantar fasciitis tend to have flexible feet. Thus in order to reduce plantar fascia stress, supportive shoes must be worn. Most often a good pair of running shoes, classified as stability or motion control, will be the best bet in providing the necessary stability.
Unfortunately, any activity that causes pain is also increased inflammation. The most common irritating activity with the plantar fascia is walking. The first steps in the morning are generally the worse and as the plantar fascia stretches, the pain improves. However, the more you are on your feet, especially with walking, the greater the tissue becomes irritated. While you are experiencing pain you are adding to the inflammation. Thus, to get out of pain faster, limit standing and walking as long as you feel pain.
The plantar fascia is a broad ligament that connects from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the ball of the foot (metatarsals). Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of this tissue. Most plantar fascia pain occurs in the inside aspect of the heel and into the arc area. With all inflammatory conditions, reducing inflammation is an important part of reducing pain. Ice is an easy means of reducing inflammation.
The best way to ice the plantar fascia is to utilize an ice cup. Fill Styrofoam cups with water and freeze them. Peel of the top of the cup and massage the exposed ice over the heel and arch region for 5 minutes a few times a day.
Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?
Once your foot feels better, you can make a few lifestyle changes to help keep plantar fasciitis from coming back. These include:
Lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, you may put more pressure on the bottom of your feet. That pressure can lead to plantar fasciitis.
Choose shoes with good support. Replace your athletic shoes often. Stay away from high heels.
Don’t go barefoot on hard surfaces. This includes your first few steps when you get up in the morning. It’s common to feel plantar fasciitis then. So you’ll want to keep some supportive footwear in your bed.
You may also want to ask your doctor if it would help to wear inserts in your shoes.
Do low-impact exercise. Activities like swimming or cycling won’t cause plantar fasciitis or make it worse. After you’re done, stretch out your calves and feet. For instance, curl and relax your toes and make circles with your feet and ankles.
Avoid high-impact activities. These include running and jumping, which put a lot of stress on your feet and can make your calf muscles tighter if you don’t stretch them out.
Keep doing your leg and foot stretches. Two of these include:
Stretch your calves. Stand to face a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Step one foot behind the other, keeping both feet parallel to each other. Gently lean toward the wall, keeping your back heel on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat several times on each side.
Stretch the bottom of your foot. Sit down and cross one foot over your other leg. Hold your toes and gently bend them backward.
Plantar fasciitis can be an annoying condition. Follow these steps consistently and your heel pain with improve in no time.